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Excitement Abounds As Offseason Program Starts

Posted Apr 21, 2014

The Dolphins officially began their offseason conditioning program on Monday morning at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.

Just like the first day of school.

That was the way more than one player described Monday when the Miami Dolphins officially began their offseason conditioning program at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.

“Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for, like the first day of school,” defensive end Cameron Wake said. “Everybody is ready to get back. Had a lot of fun today and I know it’s going to continue.”

Monday was the first day teams with returning head coaches could begin their offseason program, and Dolphins players began arriving at their training facility early in the morning to begin organized lifting and conditioning sessions.

“It’s exciting,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “Big day for us. First day of the offseason program. Been having a lot of guys through the building the last few weeks, but to have almost everyone here today working out together, running together, in the meeting room, it’s a lot of excitement in the air, a lot of excitement in the building. Just excited to be around the guys, back doing our business.”

For returning Dolphins players, Monday represented a chance to formally get reacquainted with their old teammates and to see their new teammates in a working environment.

For newcomers, such as offensive tackle Branden Albert, it was a chance to make a good first impression.

“I have the status of being a big-money guy, whatever you want to call it, so people automatically see you at a high level,” Albert said. “If I put that work ethic behind it, guys see that. I’m not a very vocal guy, I’m very to myself, but I lead by example and that’s what I want to show guys.”

One of the new players on the Dolphins roster is wide receiver Damian Williams, signed just 10 days ago as an unrestricted free agent.

The start of the offseason conditioning program gave him a glimpse at his new quarterback, and Williams came away impressed.

“I like him,” Williams said of Tannehill. “He’s a leader. There’s one drill in the weight room, I was just doing it different. I had never seen it before and he came over and he kind of showed me how to do it. That’s the type of thing that you want from your quarterback. They don’t let you just slide with mediocrity or slide with doing it wrong. They come correct you and make sure you’re getting it right so that their teammate is better. That was something that kind of stuck out to me today just being around him, seeing the way that he interacted with the guys. It seems like everybody likes him, which is always a good thing for your quarterback.”

For Tannehill, building that rapport with his teammates is a big part of what the offseason conditioning program is all about.

“It’s a huge time of year for us,” he said. “We work on our chemistry, just building the relationships within the team. We also have to learn a new offense offensively and you prepare physically for the upcoming season. It’s a long grinding season and you use the offseason to get your body ready to withhold against a long, tough season.”

The voluntary nine-week offseason program for NFL teams consists of three phases:

Phase One: The first two weeks of the program and activities are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two: The next three weeks of the program and on-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three: The next four weeks of the program ¬¬¬¬when teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted. After OTAs, teams may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players, occurring during Phase Three of the offseason program. Teams will conduct one on-field practice each day during the three-day minicamp.

Teams also may hold a rookie development program for a seven-week period, beginning May 12. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft.

Here are the dates for the Dolphins’ offseason program (practices ARE NOT open to the public): • Rookie minicamp: May 23-25 • OTA offseason workouts: May 27-28, May 30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-12 • Mandatory minicamp: June 17-19

There’s work to be done before the two minicamps arrive, though, and Monday was just the beginning.

“I know everybody is excited to be back,” said new defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. “It’s actually my first time getting a chance to be around all the team. It’s an exciting time. It’s going to be fun.”
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